Shots Fired: When a Police Car Becomes an Ambulance

If a "shots fired" call goes out over the radio, it’s a good bet police will arrive on scene before EMS providers. And with penetrating-trauma patients, where moments really do count, which option sounds better: waiting for an ambulance to arrive...

While police transport in Philadelphia is a long-standing practice, and those few minutes saved may have also saved lives, Mechem believes it’s ideally not a model for other systems to emulate. "It frequently will result in trauma patients getting to the hospital more rapidly than if police waited for EMS to arrive," he says. "However, I feel it reflects the need for more resources to be put toward EMS to better fulfill its mission."

Still, the patients will always be there, even if the EMS resources aren’t. Other EMS systems may want to consider allowing police to transport penetrating-trauma victims if it can potentially save lives.


Jason Busch is an associate editor for EMS World Magazine.